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Chiefs vs. Chargers: The best Patrick Mahomes prop bets for TNF

Profile Picture: Josh Powell

December 15th, 2021

Thursday Night Football has the potential to be a lights-out thriller, as the Chiefs head to SoFi Stadium to face the Chargers. Despite some early-season struggles, Kansas City has now won six on the spin and is one of three teams tied at 9-4 in the AFC.

The 8-5 Chargers could be a speed bump on the Chiefs’ drive toward a Super Bowl, however, having already tasted victory against them this year. That game in Kansas City finished 30-24 to the Chargers, courtesy of a Mike Williams touchdown with just 32 seconds left on the clock.

Patrick Mahomes will hope to lead his team to a different outcome on Thursday, so here are the best player props for the 2018 MVP.

Fri, December 17 2021, 1:20 AM

LA Chargers

Moneyline

+128

Spread

+3

Total

O 51.5

KC Chiefs

Moneyline

-157

Spread

-3

Total

U 51.5

Over/Under 290.5 Passing Yards

Mahomes’ box scores certainly don’t suggest he’s hitting the heights of previous years, but there were signs of better things to come in last week’s clash with the Raiders. Mahomes completed more than 80% of his passes for the first time this season, and his average yards per attempt (10.75) was the highest it’s been since Week 2 against the Ravens.

His final passing yards tally was just 258 — the sixth time in seven games he’s failed to top 275 yards through the air. However, he had put up 176 yards in the first half, alone, and the Chiefs, at that point, were already up 35-3. Mahomes only chucked the ball nine times in the second half.

Thursday night will be an entirely different proposition against a Chargers team that has allowed just 207.3 passing yards per game this season, which is the fourth best mark in the NFL. Kirk Cousins and Baker Mayfield are the only two quarterbacks to have thrown for more than 275 yards against the Chargers all season, and in Week 3, they held Mahomes to just 260.

That was the fifth time in Mahomes' six career games against the Chargers that he has failed to top 260 yards. He’s only once in three previous seasons played on a short week, and that was at home to the Chargers in Week 15 of 2018, when he managed to put up just 243 yards.

Recent form, nor recent history, is on Mahomes’ side here, but the belief is he will have to throw to match the Chargers’ equally high-powered offense. Even if he does, his average yards per attempt this season is just 7.3 (ranked 15th in the league), and the Chargers held him to just 5.9 yards per attempt already this season.

On average, Brandon Staley’s team has given up just 6.4 yards per attempt this season, and given how teams are attempting to play the Chiefs in 2021 by eliminating the deep threat, the Under looks the play again.

Pick: Under 290.5 Passing Yards (-115)


Over/Under 2.5 Touchdown Passes

Mahomes started the season with four straight games in which he had at least three touchdown passes, but since then he’s managed three of more touchdowns just once in nine games. That’s 38.5% of games this season in which he’s throw over 2.5 touchdowns, which is pretty much in line with his Over rate in 2020 (40%) and 2019 (35.7%).

The more telling trend line points to the Chiefs leaning more on the run game when they get in close — something that they have benefited from in recent weeks, thanks to some awesome defensive performances. Only two of the Chiefs’ last 10 touchdowns have been in the air, and although you’d expect that to regress toward the mean (64% of TDs have been passing TDs this season for K.C.), Thursday might not be the night for it.

Mahomes and Ben Roethlisberger are the only two players to throw three or more TDs against the Chargers this season, with Los Angeles giving up just 19 passing touchdowns through 13 games — an average of 1.46 passing TDs per contest.

The Chiefs franchise QB threw three touchdowns against the Chargers in Week 3, and on his debut for K.C., he threw four TDs against the Chargers at this stadium in 2018, so there will be plenty of happy memories.

Despite that, the Under looks the obvious play.

Pick: Under 2.5 Passing Touchdowns (-190)


Over/Under 37.5 Pass Attempts

The Chargers haven’t done a great job of keeping the opposition off the field this season, as they’ve given up 64.7 plays per game, the 10th-highest mark in the NFL. That should mean plenty of opportunities for Mahomes to beat this line, and despite my reluctance to back him to get Over his total passing yards, I fancy him to continue throwing it a ton.

The Chiefs are one of the most pass heavy offenses in the league and throw the ball 62.6% of the time. Mahomes is averaging 38.6 passes per game, and although he’s been conservative since the bye week (29 pass attempts vs. the Broncos and 24 vs. the Raiders), those were two games where the points line was around 47.5 and the Chiefs were 9.5-point favorites.

This game should be a lot closer. In the 30 career games Mahomes has played in which the score has been decided by seven points or fewer, the star QB has averaged 40 passing attempts in those matches.

Thursday Night Football should be one of those games, with both sides capable of putting up points. The total is hovering around 52, which suggests a thriller, so expect Mahomes to air it out to keep up with Justin Herbert.

Pick: Over 37.5 Pass Attempts (-121)

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